The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
The transcript of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper's closed-door testimony has been released.
She testified before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry on Oct. 23.
The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry will soon release a transcript of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper's closed-door testimony, according to an official working on the probe.
About her testimony: She provided a very technical readout of how foreign aid is disbursed last month, according to lawmakers. Several lawmakers said her testimony helped show that the Ukraine aid deviated from that normal process.
Cooper, who was issued a subpoena in the same manner as State Department officials who have testified, did not give an opening statement, lawmakers said.
Jay Sekulow's son Jordan Sekulow talked about the upcoming public impeachment hearings on his father's radio show today.
Jay Sekulow is one of President Trump's personal attorneys.
Jordan Sekulow said that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent — who is scheduled to testify publicly on Wednesday — has a grudge for being "cut out of the process" of US foreign policy-making and that everything he says is hearsay.
"Especially when it comes to George Kent who just didn't like getting cut out of Ukraine policy. This is a guy who, early on, they said we don't really want to deal with this State Department bureaucrat on Ukraine, so they cut him out," Jordan Sekulow said. "So, he's got a grudge. Everything he knows is based off hearsay on hearsay on hearsay; nothing that would ever be admissible in a real court."
Jordan Sekulow said the whistleblower doesn't "qualify as a whistleblower."
"Fake in the sense they don't qualify as being a whistleblower under the statute of the Intelligence community because that has nothing to do with the intelligence work and it has nothing to do with someone who works for the Intelligence. So, you don't even qualify as a whistleblower," he said.
At the same time, Jordan Sekulow said the whistleblower needs to testify in the impeachment inquiry "because most of your witnesses and the ones you picked to start off your public impeachment hearings would not have this information to even discuss if there wasn't a whistleblower."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified Jay Sekulow as the host of today's radio show. It was his son, Jordan Sekulow.
President Trump falsely claimed that he signed the Whistleblower Protection Act in a tweet today.
As is noted in the original tweet, Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act — bipartisan legislation aimed at increasing accountability for employees of the Department of Veteran Affairs. It includes protections specifically for department staffers who report corruption.
Why this matters: Trump did not sign the broader Whistleblower Protection Act, which was signed into law in 1989.
In a tweet, President Trump again called for the whistleblower, whose complaint started the impeachment inquiry, to testify, and accused them of giving “so much false information.”
House Republicans on Saturday submitted a list of witnesses to Democrats that they'd like to testify as part of the chamber's impeachment inquiry, including the whistleblower.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the whistleblower won't be testifying, arguing that the individual's testimony would be "redundant and unnecessary."
Remember: While Trump has repeatedly said the whistleblower lied, the overwhelming majority of allegations in his or her complaint have been corroborated by official government documents, Trump’s public statements, and news reporting.
Trump today also called for Schiff “and others” to testify.
Several media organizations including CNN have written to a federal judge asking to make a hearing later today about acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s House subpoena more accessible to the public.
Federal Judge Richard Leon will hear arguments at 5 p.m. on whether Mulvaney can join an existing lawsuit about House subpoena power versus the White House assertions of immunity during the impeachment probe.
But the media organizations at this time aren’t able to listen to that hearing as it happens.
“The need for contemporaneous public access to this proceeding could not be greater, given that this matter involves momentous constitutional questions regarding separation of powers and impeachment,” lawyers for seven national media organizations wrote today.
Leon has said he would speak to the attorneys involved by telephone, from his judicial chambers. The hearing could last an hour or more and is happening on a day the Washington courthouse is observing Veterans Day. The court generally makes transcripts of court proceedings available following hearings, but for a fee.
Mulvaney had asked to join the lawsuit late Friday. Charles Kupperman, the lead plaintiff who formerly served as White House national security adviser, said Mulvaney should have to file a separate lawsuit and shouldn’t be allowed to join the case. Attorneys for the House also oppose allowing Mulvaney to join the case.
The media organizations requesting access to the hearing Monday are: CNN, Associated Press, the New York Times, Dow Jones (the Wall Street Journal), Politico, Reuters and the Washington Post, according to the filing.
Impeachment witness Charles Kupperman is distancing himself from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as he attempts to join Kupperman’s lawsuit testing House subpoena power.
Kupperman claimed in a court filing that Mulvaney shouldn’t be allowed to join his lawsuit, asking a court for help in a fight between the White House and the House. Though Kupperman doesn’t want to share his lawsuit with Mulvaney, he supports Mulvaney’s filing of a separate lawsuit that would be heard by the same judge as Kupperman’s.
Kupperman’s attorneys seized upon Mulvaney’s previous public statements about a quid pro quo, suggesting to a federal judge his attempts to refrain from testifying aren't as strong as Kupperman’s.
“Mulvaney has publicly discussed the events at issue in the House’s impeachment inquiry, including appearing to admit that there was a quid pro quo relationship between the President’s decision to withhold appropriated financial assistance from Ukraine and a Ukrainian investigation into what happened to a Democratic server in 2016 (an admission he subsequently sought to disavow). [Kupperman], in contrast, has never publicly disclosed information relating to any of his official duties, including the matters under investigation by the House,” Kupperman’s attorney Chuck Cooper wrote today. “There is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the President.”
A federal judge will hear arguments at 5 p.m. today about Mulvaney joining Kupperman’s lawsuit.
More on this: Kupperman, a former White House national security official, asked a court to decide whether he must testify to the House last week, or whether the White House’s assertion of immunity over him was correct. The House later withdrew the subpoena, asking the court to dismiss the case and calling Kupperman’s legal approach a delay tactic.
The House also opposes Mulvaney’s attempt to join the case, its lawyers wrote in another filing.
President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is considering re-entering the impeachment fray by launching a podcast to provide impeachment analysis of the public hearings in the House of Representatives scheduled for later this week.
Giuliani was overheard discussing the plans with an unidentified woman while at a crowded New York City restaurant, Sant Ambroeus, over lunch on Saturday. The conversation, which lasted more than an hour, touched on details including dates for recording and releasing the podcast, settling on a logo, and the process of uploading the podcast to iTunes and other podcast distributors.
Two people who overheard Giuliani's discussion reached out to CNN and provided a recording they decided to make of the conversation. They contacted CNN unprompted after reading a recent CNN story about Giuliani and the President's ongoing relationship. The people asked not to be identified and provided the audio recording on the condition that it not be published.
"Many Americans want to hear directly from Rudy Giuliani," said Christianné Allen, a spokesperson for Giuliani. "He is considering several options, in consultation with Jay Sekulow and the legal team, regarding the best way to move forward. As of now, they have not decided on the strategy but are getting very close."
A White House official pushed back on the notion that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's decision to join a lawsuit seeking a federal judge's guidance in the impeachment inquiry amounts to any distance between Mulvaney and President Trump.
The official said Mulvaney is working with the White House, not against it.
"Mulvaney's counsel is working closely with [White House counsel's office], and WHCO was fully apprised of the filing before it took place," the official said. "Having the President be on the lawsuit is a technicality, given the competing instructions given to Mr. Mulvaney. The lawsuit is non-adversarial as to the President, and in no way indicates any distance between the President and the acting chief."